"Are you sure you don't want me there, Nate?" Eliot asked through the comms. He was uncomfortable leaving the team out on their own. Granted, he never liked to leave the team in a position where he wasn't nearby if they needed him. He and Hardison were currently sitting in a hotel room just outside Santa Barbara, California. Hardison was stationed at his "geek center" monitoring the team and the mark. Eliot, however, was feeling a tad anxious not having role to fill at the moment.
"I'm sure, Eliot. This is just a basic setup for the con. Unless something goes unrealistically, horribly wrong, we won't need back up," Nate assured Eliot. Nate, Sophie, and Parker were all currently at an evening event hosted by the mark. Nothing more than basic alias set-up was going to happen.
Eliot muttered something under his breath and started to pace.
Hardison tried to stifle a laugh, but by the death glare Eliot sent him, he clearly failed. Just as Hardison was about to say something, Eliot's phone rang.
Eliot jerked his phone from his pocket. The instant he looked at the screen his scowl deepened, and Hardison thought he might have rolled his eyes. Eliot pulled his earpiece out and walked into the bedroom area of the hotel room. Putting the phone to his ear, he growled, "What?"
A surprised voice on the other end answered, "Uh, who is this?"
Eliot clinched the phone tighter, "What do you want, Shawn?"
There was a short pause before Shawn's cheery voice returned, "Eliot! Hey man. What's up?"
Eliot rubbed his face, "I'm busy Shawn. What is it?"
Shawn laughed, "Funny thing. See, I'm working on a case right now, and I followed these guys into a warehouse. I don't think they saw me, but they may have accidentally locked me in a back room."
Eliot clinched his teeth, "What are you- Never mind. Why the heck did you call me?! Call one of your police buddies."
"See, that's the funny part. I didn't mean to call you, but I wasn't really looking when I called, and this actually happened to me before. Except, accidentally calling you is way better than accidentally calling Gina. Plus, last time I was shot and in a car trunk. So I guess this is better. I don't even know why I ended up calling you, 'cause-" Shawn rambling was cut off by a door being yanked open and a muffled shout.
"Shawn?" The call dropped. Eliot checked his phone to be sure. Dang it. Shoving his phone back into his pocket, Eliot turned and hurried into the other room. "Hardison!" he shouted.
Hardison jumped, "Whoa. I'm right here, man. No need to shout. What is it?"
Eliot pulled his phone out and tossed it at Hardison, "I need you to track my last call."
Hardison barely managed to catch the phone, "'Scuse you? What exactly are you asking me to do?"
Eliot clinched his fists, "I need to know where the last phone call came from."
Hardison held his hands up for a second, "I got it, okay? No need to get antsy." He plugged Eliot's phone into his laptop and started typing away on the keyboard.
Eliot paced back and forth in the room, "Come on, Hardison! Hurry it up!"
"Look man, I know y'all think I just wave my hands and all your technological dreams come true, but it don't work like that." It took Hardison just another minute before he said, "Got it!"
Eliot rushed over and leaned over Hardison's shoulder, "How far is that?"
"Not far. Maybe a twenty-five minute drive at most. But at this time of night, traffic probably isn't a problem."
"Got it." Eliot straightened up and grabbed his car keys. As he was pulling on his jacket, he said, "Can you set my comm up so only you can hear it?"
Hardison gave him an odd look, "And why would I want to do that?"
"Just do it, Hardison!" Eliot snapped. He slipped the earpiece back in.
Hardison put his hands up, "Okay, okay. Just relax." He turned back to his laptop, "Oh, and I'll send the map to your phone. Keep your comm in."
"Right," Eliot jerked the room door open and stalked into the hallway. Once he got on the road, he started making good time. With little to no to traffic, if he pushed the speed limit, he could get to his destination in about fifteen minutes. Still, a lot could happen in fifteen minutes. He pushed the speed limit a little more.
By the time he reached the building, it had been seventeen minutes since Shawn's call. Eliot jumped out of the car, scanning the parking lot. There were no vehicles parked out front, but that didn't mean no one was inside. Closing the car door quietly, Eliot made his way towards the building. "Hardison, his phone still inside?"
"Yeah. It hasn't moved since your call. You gonna tell me who's phone I'm tracking?" Hardison asked.
Eliot just grunted. He paused outside the door. He pressed his ear against the outside wall, but didn't hear any noise. He pushed the door open cautiously and slipped inside, making sure to close the door quietly.
He glanced around. The building consisted of one large room. There were no lights on, but streaks of moonlight came through the windows casting odd shadows about the room. There was an open door opposite Eliot that appeared to lead into a small hallway. Eliot made his way across the room and paused outside the door. Inside the hallway, there were four other doors, each spouting of the left and right sides of the hallway, which ended in a dead end. Eliot listened; he could hear noises coming from one of the rooms on the right.
Eliot reached out and grabbed the hallway door. He moved it slightly. A creaking noise echoed through the empty warehouse. The soft noises coming from the room stopped. Eliot stepped back from the door, the shadows in the room hiding him from view.
Eliot heard a door open. A soft light appeared in the hallway, but vanished quickly. Eliot waited, listening to the footsteps. Two sets. He waited until he saw both men passed him. He smirked at their decision to forgo having a flashlight in order to stay hidden. It made his job easier.
The two men turned back to back to scan the room. Eliot quietly moved towards the man on the left, knocking him out with a blow to his head. The other man spun around, starting to draw a weapon, but Eliot was moving too fast. With another hit, both men where laying on the ground. Eliot took the gun, pulled out the magazine, and slid them across the floor into the corner. He moved back to his position by the door.
More muffled noises came from the room. Soon the door opened again, this time Eliot only heard one set of footsteps. The steps were shuffled and halting. Eliot smirked again. This guy was nervous. He had to be one of the last ones.
Eliot took him out easily. After disposing of another gun in similar fashion, Eliot entered the hallway. Remaining quiet, he lightly grasped the doorknob, turning it slowing, before flinging the door open with a slam.
Inside the room was one man, Eliot's guess had been right. He held a gun, which he was pointing at Eliot. However, while he was startled, he seemed intrigued by Eliot, choosing not to fire his weapon just yet. The only other person in the room was currently tied to a chair with the other man's hand over his mouth.
Eliot nodded to the man in the chair. "Shawn," he said, gruffly. The man in the chair attempted to smile and nodded back. Eliot turned his gaze to the man with the gun and nodded to him.
The man glanced between them, then looked back at Eliot, "Who are you?"
Eliot shrugged, inching into the room, "That doesn't really matter right now. What does matter is who that is," Eliot nodded towards Shawn.
The man glanced at Shawn and gave Eliot an amused smile, "Oh really? And who is he?"
Eliot inched closer again, "He's my cousin."
The man gave a soft laugh, though Eliot could hear the nervousness behind it, "And why do you think telling me that will help you?" The man put his gun against Shawn's head, "Don't come any closer, or he's dead."
Eliot took another small step forward before stopping, "Well, normally, it make much of a difference if he's my cousin or not." Shawn's eyebrows went up before he glared at Eliot. "But I'll tell you why, right now, it does make a difference." Eliot was now close enough that he could have reached out and touched the man.
The man swallowed, "Why?"
"Because, I don't like guns," Eliot reached out and grabbed the gun, jerking it from the man's hand, before head-butting him. The man collapsed to the ground. Eliot ejected the magazine from the gun and threw them both into the corner.
Shawn stretched out his jaw, then looked up at Eliot, "Seriously? I call you because I'm in a tight spot-"
"You called me by accident, Shawn," Eliot grumbled as he pulled his pocket knife out and started to cut Shawn loose.
Shawn continued as if Eliot hadn't interrupted, "And you flat out tell the guy, who has a gun to my head, that if he didn't have a gun to my head, you wouldn't care."
Eliot snapped the last rope and closed his pocket knife, "That's not what I said."
Shawn stood up and rubbed his wrists, "Then what did you say?"
"I said that was the only reason it would matter if you were my cousin," Eliot turned and exited the room.
Shawn hurried after him, "And, how is that different?" He froze when he came around the corner and saw Eliot punch out the first two guys who had gotten back up.
Eliot shook his hair out of his face, "Come on!"
"Uh, right," Shawn glanced down at the guys on the floor before hurrying after Eliot.
Once they were outside, Eliot turned to Shawn, "You have a ride?"
"Yeah," Shawn turned and pointed to his motorcycle which was parked in the far corner of the lot.
Eliot raised an eyebrow, but didn't say anything. He walked towards his car.
"Hey, where are you going? I've haven't seen you in forever. Why didn't you tell me you were in Santa Barbara? We should totally hang out!" Shawn whined.
Eliot rolled his eyes, "I told you on the phone, Shawn, I'm busy."
Shawn raised an eyebrow, "Busy? You mean, with work?" Eliot remained quiet, and a grin spread across Shawn's face. "Dude! Why didn't you tell me that?! Is your whole team here? Can I meet them?" Shawn looked past Eliot as if the team were right behind him.
"No," Eliot opened the car door, "Like I said, we're busy. Maybe next time."
Shawn rolled his eyes, "Man, come on. You know there won't be a next time. And you didn't even tell me about your team in the first place, you know. I had to go digging on my own. You owe."
Eliot smirked and climbed in the car.
Shawn sighed. He started to head over to his bike, but paused, "Hey, what do I tell the cops about what happened?"
Eliot closed the car door, "I don't know. I'm sure you'll think of something."
"Alright, but seriously, next time you're in Santa Barbara, you have to call me. I know this place that has amazing pineapple upside-down cake."
Eliot shook his head, "We'll see." He started the car.
Shawn gave Eliot a two-finger salute, "See ya later, couz."
"See ya, Shawn." Eliot pulled out of the parking lot and got back on the rode, "Hardison, you still there?" He had a feeling that Hardison had probably been listening the whole time.
There was a pause and a swallowing sound, "Uh, yeah man. I'm here."
Eliot rolled his eyes, knowing Hardison was probably drinking an orange soda, "I'm on my way back. The job still going?"
"Actually, they are just finishing up. If you hurry you should beat them back, though."
Eliot nodded, "Alright."
"Hey man, how come you never mentioned you had a cousin?"
"Never had a reason to," Eliot replied.
"Hardison," Eliot hesitated, "Don't tell the team where I was."
Eliot remained quiet.
"Alright, whatever. It's your deal. See you back soon."
Eliot sighed. He didn't necessarily like keeping secrets from the team, but he also didn't like going into detail about his personal life. He preferred to keep his family, especially Shawn, out of anything involving Leverage Inc. Besides, what happened wouldn't affect the team. At least, it wouldn't until the next time Eliot had to go bail Shawn out.
Eliot had meant what he said in the warehouse. It didn't matter that Shawn was his cousin. What mattered was that he knew Shawn, and Shawn was one of the few people who knew about what Eliot did, and still wanted to keep in touch with him. While he wouldn't admit it, that meant a lot to him. Shawn was family, and family meant something to Eliot.